A part of the SERC Teacher Professional Development Program Collection
CIRES: Earthworks Professional Development Workshop
Program URL: http://cires.colorado.edu/education-outreach/projects/past-projects/earthworks/
What was the impetus for the program?
How is the program structured?
- The ecology of a landsite that's being influenced by a nearby riparian zone
- Interactions between topography and microclimates
- The influence of acid mine drainage of macro-invertebrates in a local stream
- The influence of climate on Aspen tree growth and morphology
Who is involved?
Research scientists facilitate the workshops and include CIRES scientists, University of Colorado faculty members, NOAA scientists, and scientists from private consulting companies.
Teachers involved in the workshop include 15 new participants and 10 returning participants, who serve as mentors throughout completion of the projects. The returning participants represent teachers who have successfully implemented their Earthwork experience into their classroom.
How is the program evaluated?
How can faculty get involved in this type of program?
How is the program maintained and funded?
Hints for starting a program like this:
- The model for this type of workshop is unfamiliar to many teachers and scientists, making it essential to have returning participants and facilitators who can serve as mentors.
- Due to the open inquiry-based design of the workshop, be prepared to encounter some initial apprehension and uncertainty as teachers are designing their study and scientists are preparing to offer their support.
- Pairing returning participants as mentors for new participants helps facilitate the development and implementation of projects and can ease the initial apprehension.
- Good guidance is necessary to help ensure that participants design robust studies that can be accomplished within a week, yield results with useful data and conclusions, and model best practices for scientific inquiry.
- A good retreat-like location is ideal for this type of workshop and a rich resource of scientists who engage in field-based research.